Car enthusiast Pete Tryce, who miraculously walked away from a high-speed crash in an AC Cobra race car last year, said he still believes racing cars is safe and wants to get back on the track – but in a different vehicle.
“I had put [the Cobra] up for sale that weekend [before the crash] because I was going fast enough that I decided I needed a real race car,” Tryce told ABCNews.com. ”[AC Cobras] are very well built…but just because they’re the fastest doesn’t mean they’re the safest.”
Tryce was racing at the Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., on Oct. 23, 2011, topping speeds of 130 mph, when his open-top AC Cobra replica race car, one of the fastest cars in the world, veered off the race course and flipped several times before stopping upright in the dirt shoulder.
“You become a passenger at that point,” Tryce said. “You don’t have control of the vehicle.”
Tryce, who had been racing his Cobra at open track events for years, suffered some bruised ribs and a torn ligament in his knee, but the 45-year-old real estate agent from Redondo Beach, Calif., said it could have been much worse.
“It would have been game over had [the car] rolled and actually landed wheels up,” Tryce said.
The crash was caught on a dashboard cam that also survived the accident. Tryce then posted the edited footage, with his subtitled commentary and slow-motion replays, on YouTube to show viewers how he survived. One subtitle says “I am thanking God that I am alive right now.”
The video, which has got over 1.2 million hits, shows chunks of metal being torn away from the Cobra as it rolled over and over, kicking up a cloud of dust and finally stopping 500 feet from where it left the track. Tryce said he has taped several of his runs before, but this was his first crash, and there is still speculation over what caused it.
“Most people don’t live through a second [crash] like that,” he said.
The Cobra, a sports car that can sell for upwards of $100,000, depending on the make and model, wasn’t so lucky. The mangled car was totaled after the accident, but Tryce said he was still able to sell it for parts, although he wouldn’t disclose for how much nor the price of the original car before the crash. His next race car probably won’t be another Cobra, he said.
“I need another car,” Tryce said. ”Probably a truck…or a retired NASCAR car.”